Dark Light by Linda Simon
Electricity and Anxiety from the Telegraph to the X-Ray

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Synopsis

The modern world imagines that the invention of electricity was greeted with great enthusiasm. But in 1879, Americans reacted to the advent of electrification with suspicion and fear. Forty years after Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb, only 20 percent of American families had wired their homes. Meanwhile, electrotherapy emerged as a popular medical treatment for everything from depression to digestive problems. Why did Americans welcome electricity into their bodies even as they kept it from their homes? And what does their reaction to technological innovation then have to teach us about our reaction to it today?

In Dark Light, Linda Simon offers the first cultural history that delves into those questions, using newspapers, novels, and other primary sources. Tracing fifty years of technological transformation, from Morse's invention of the telegraph to Roentgen's discovery of X rays, she has created a revealing portrait of an anxious age.
 

About Linda Simon

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LINDA SIMON is a professor of English at Skidmore College. She is the author of four biographies, including Genuine Reality:A Life of Henry James and The Biography of Alice B.Toklas. She lives in Saratoga Springs, NewYork.
 
Published July 5, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 368 pages
Genres: History, Computers & Technology, War, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife. Non-fiction

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This adventure/romance provides thrills and intrigue, starting off solidly with Mia attracted to Sol, the mysterious, hunky new student with a fabulous eagle tattoo that covers his entire back.

Jul 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Dark Light: Electricity and A...

Kirkus Reviews

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Before electricity became the driving force of civilization, the public had to come to terms with this new power.

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Publishers Weekly

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This, well, illuminating social history of the introduction of electric power in 19th-century America illustrates a thesis that has resonance today: that the introduction of any potentially transfo

May 24 2004 | Read Full Review of Dark Light: Electricity and A...

Publishers Weekly

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Seventeen-year-old Mia Stone has seen the strange lights that haunt her rural Nebraska town, but she doesn’t suspect that they might have something to do with a string of child kidnappings.

Jun 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Dark Light: Electricity and A...

Publishers Weekly

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This, well, illuminating social history of the introduction of electric power in 19th-century America illustrates a thesis that has resonance today: that the introduction of any potentially transforming technology creates a tension between desirable changes in day-to-day life and the anxiety that...

| Read Full Review of Dark Light: Electricity and A...

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